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Maya making magic

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Estancia point guard has helped lead Estancia to two tourney wins and a 13-2 record.

January 03, 2014|By Matt Szabo
  • Estancia High sophomore Maya Van Den Heever is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Estancia High sophomore Maya Van Den Heever is the Daily… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Estancia High sophomore Maya Van Den Heever is used to the long airplane ride between California and the Solomon Islands.

Usually Maya and her twin sister Nefertiti make it at winter break in December. They go back to the Solomon Islands to see their mother, Doreen.

Maya, Nefertiti and their father John left the country when the twins were just 6 years old, and it was understandable why. At the time, the Solomon Islands were in the midst of a Civil War. Doreen stayed behind to care for family.

"She's my adopted mom," Maya Van Den Heever said. "She's really my aunt. My real mom [Sandra] is in Papua New Guinea with my older sister [Lavinia]."

This winter break, instead of the twins going home to the Solomon Islands, Doreen came to Costa Mesa. She's in town now, and this means a lot to Maya, who is the starting point guard for the Estancia girls' basketball team.

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"She's seen me play once in a real gym," Maya said of Doreen. "Sometimes, just on video."

Doreen will be able to see Maya play in person for the next two months. But family members are not the only people who are impressed with Maya Van Den Heever's game.

She is a big reason why the Eagles, ranked No. 7 in CIF Southern Section Division 3A, are off to a 13-2 start. She earned all-tournament team honors last week as Estancia won the Santiago tournament, beating South Hills, 64-54, in the championship game. In the title tilt, she tallied 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

It was the second tournament win of the season for Estancia, which captured the CdM Tip-Off Tournament in early December. Nefertiti is out this season with a torn ACL, but Maya is seemingly producing enough for both twins.

Coming into Friday's nonleague game against Rancho Alamitos, she was second on the team in scoring (9.9 points per game) and first in assists (5.0). Maya also was third on the team in steals, with 3.1 per contest.

She wears No. 32 like Magic Johnson, and that's not an accident, as Eagles Co-Coach Xavier Castellano gave her the number since he's a big Los Angeles Lakers fan. Van Den Heever, who started playing basketball at California Elementary, has steadily improved at the point guard position.

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